What is CHOLESTEROL?
Within our bodies, there are 2 main types of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL, often referred to as the “lousy cholesterol’ and HDL the “healthy cholesterol”. But it is not as black and white as that.
Less is not always better
If you have a genetic risk of heart disease, then a better test is LDL particle number (LDL-P). The higher this result, the more at risk you are. If the number is low or normal, taking a cholesterol lowering medication can be detrimental to your on-going health – regardless what your LDL levels are.
In one study of over 52,000 Norwegians, researchers found that women with total cholesterol levels below 195 mg/dL had a higher risk of death than women with cholesterol levels above that cut-off.
Signs of risk
The more components of the metabolic syndrome that are present—such as abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low HDL—the more likely it is that LDL particle number will be elevated
Diet and CHOLESTEROL
We can also absorb cholesterol from the diet through our bowel, although about 75-85% of the cholesterol in the body is produced in the liver, rather than from the cholesterol we consume.
Several studies published in the past few years concluded that there was no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease. However, quality of the fats is vital, as foods high in trans fats have damaging effects on our arteries.
The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production; when dietary cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less.
Up until this century, medical experts blamed dietary cholesterol and saturated fats for cholesterolemia and heart disease, and sadly this outdated information is still in circulation.
It was updated in a 2004 editorial in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, Sylvan Lee Weinberg, former president of the American College of Cardiology and outspoken proponent of the diet-heart hypothesis, said, “The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet… may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations.”
Liver, Stress and Cholesterol
There is compelling evidence that your level of stress can cause an increase in bad cholesterol indirectly. This can be tested in several ways, but our preference is with a saliva sample taken at 3 specific points of the day measuring cortisol levels. DHEA is also a useful marker to see if stress hormones are too high, or too low due to chronic stress.
Did you know: Professor Bruce McEwen claims it only takes 6 weeks of unremitting stress to lock the nervous system into a permanent state of Fight Flight or Freeze (FFF)!
Cholesterol is necessary to produce vitamin D, steroid (adrenal) hormones, and bile acids. Therefor it goes to say that if the body is in a state of stress or FFF, it needs more cholesterol than normal to build those hormones.
Thyroid and Cholesterol
It is medically accepted that on of the first signs of low thyroid hormone is raised cholesterol levels. I am passionate about educating people about fixing the root cause, especially in this instance. The alternative is to be put on a statin medication, which has its own list of side effects – some of them are deadly serious.
Dale Bredesen, MD is known for his groundbreaking work on reversing early onset dementia. He claims that when there is some atrophy in the brain, and it’s associated with having very low cholesterol due to statin medication use, it rapidly fuels the development and decline of dementia.
Liver function and your cholesterol
Cholesterol balance is achieved both by synthesis in the body and by absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.
Fatty Liver is known to coincide with elevated total cholesterol. The mechanism is due to increased expression of HMC CoA reductase (HMGCR) (the rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol synthesis).
Luckily, Fatty Liver is usually treatable with natural medicine, so loving your liver with some powerful detoxification nutraceuticals and a good diet program can reverse this issue.
Get your balance back with a Lucy Rose functional approach!
Signs that your liver needs some love:
Fatigue – sluggish
Waking between 1:00 – 3:00am
Weaker and flabbier muscles
Thinning hair, shedding hair or hair loss
Puffy eyes, hands or feet
A test result marker is not a disease. It’s a risk factor for a disease. Having a risk factor for a disease does not guarantee that you will get that disease—it just increases the chance that you will.
If your cholesterol levels are up, then they will be several underlying factors to address, which will vary between individuals based on genetics, health history, stress factors, and environmental exposures.
Thorough testing with functional pathology can help write the road-map to treatment, uncover the imbalances, and guide the correct supplements and diet to return a healthy and healing balance.
Working with a functional health practitioner aims at addressing the root causes behind the imbalances, brings the system back to balance, and prevent future disease progressions.
When you work with a Lucy Rose Practitioner, you work with a TEAM of hand picked and specially up-skilled naturopaths to help you achieve this
Cholesterol is a sign of imbalance, and even if you are already on medication, we can work with and your doctor to try and remove the driving factors, help you feel better, and set you up for better future health.
Feel free to book a call in with one of my specially trained naturopath practitioners to find out more about our unique approach to wellness. Click here